Wednesday, August 31, 2016

American Girl at Toys R Us

Breaking news in the American Girl world has some people excited, some dismayed, and leaves me in complete awe at the selfishness and snobbishness that these beautiful dolls, these children's toys, somehow seem to bring out in "grown" women. 

Upon the announcement that Toys R Us would not only be selling Wellie Wisher accessories, but the dolls as well, American Girl forums across the internet absolutely exploded. Reading page after page and thread after thread I saw much of what I had expected. Excitement. Joy. Enthusiasm. Parents expressed happiness that they would now be able to put dolls on layaway, possibly use R Us coupons, and take their children to an actual store to pick out their dolls in person. (Something that is't possible for a large percentage of the population, as there are only 29 stores currently open worldwide and 7 of those are listed as "Temporary Locations".) 

Though we do not yet own a Wellie Wisher, and are still on the fence after seeing them in person, even I was excited about the prospect of these dolls being available at Toys R Us locations. Toys R Us is a bit closer to us than the AG store for one thing. For another, I have several friends who have already contacted me about their excitement that they can shop for their children, grandchildren, godchildren, nieces, nephews, etc. through layaway or on their R Us Rewards card since they already do a large portion of their holiday/event shopping that way. I know one woman in particular who has never been able to buy her daughter a brand new doll and was actually in tears at the thought that she will now be able to get her little girl a brand new, never before owned doll for Christmas. (It's been on her Santa list for 5 years. Five years, people, and it's going to happen now.) A close friend of mine who lives over 6 hours away from her nearest store is already planning a trip to their local Toys R Us to pick out dolls for her son and daughter in person for the first time.  

Of course, as with anything AG related, there were Debbie Downers. There was a surprisingly large (or perhaps not so surprisingly to anyone who has been following the fandom for any length of time) number of mothers who thought this was a terrible thing. I actually read the word "devastating" in regards to toys being sold at Toys R Us. I wish I had real world problems that would allow me to find where Mattel chooses to sell their products as a "devastating" event in my life. I truly do. There were a huge, huge number of women who said that they didn't care if the Wellie Wishers were sold at TRU, because they are just cheapened AG anyways, (which I do happen to agree that the quality is less than I would expect for a $60 doll, but they are still AG) but at least they weren't selling the 18 inch dolls there. That would be over the top. 

The announcement has now been made that, in addition to Wellie Wisher products and dolls, there will be Truly Me dolls coming to TRU Lord help us all, the plastic accessories and doll clothes have really hit the fan now!

 "Well, they probably won't be included in coupons anyways, so don't get your hopes up about being able to afford one." 

"This will cheapen the brand!"

"Now everyone is going to have one!"

"If you can't afford a 'real' AG doll anyways you shouldn't be putting them on layaway."

"It's like having a Porsche! If everyone can get them their value decreases!"

"If you have to put it on layaway you should just get a Walmart doll." 

"My daughter is so distraught that just anyone will be able to buy these now. She says she doesn't even want them anymore." 

"This is just devastating! I've actually shed tears about it. What makes them special now?"

Seriously? Seriously, people. They. Are. Dolls! Yes, they are dolls that many of us longed for as children, pouring over the catalogs and dreaming of putting Felicity to bed and drawing the curtains closed around her 4 poster, of teaching Addy to read using her little chalk and slate, of waiting with Molly for a letter from her father...But isn't that the very reason we should be celebrating this? The fact that there are more little girls out there who will be able to play, and imagine, and dream! (For the record, none of the historicals, BeForever, or Girl of the Years are going to be sold at TRU if being "exclusive" really matters that damn much to you.) When the hell did dolls become some kind of status symbols for mothers?!

Yes, mothers, because make no mistake about it, your daughter or son gives zero figs that every kid on the block now has access to an American Girl doll. As a matter of fact, they'd probably be thrilled to have even more friends they can play along with. No, they don't start caring until you stomp around like a toddler whose been told "no" bemoaning the fact that your child's playroom is no longer "exclusive" and "unique". "Cheapen the brand?" That happened when Pleasant Company was bought out by Mattel. Parent's shouldn't get things for their children if they have to use layaway or credit? I hope that you have paid for everything you've even bought in your life with cash only, including that horse you rode in on. 

I've said before that I, a grown woman and mother, had absolutely no idea how catty other women could be until I dove into the world of American Girl as an adult, (and that being said, I have also met some of the most amazing, supportive, phenomenal women in this world too) but even I've been amazed at the new low some have sunk to in the wake of this announcement. Get over it, and more importantly, yourselves. These are toys meant to bring toys to children. They also bring joy to some adults, but if that joy stops with the thought that "just anyone" can have them now, then you really need to evaluate your life. 

Stepping off the soapbox now, and looking forward to shopping at both the American Girl store and TRU for our dolls in the near future.

~Mrs. D 

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